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02 July 2015 @ 02:18 am
The real world of Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell  
The Oxford University Press blog delivers again:


[Francis] Barrett gave private tuition on the magical arts, and one of his pupils was a Lincolnshire cunning-man named John Parkins. When this rural magician returned to his home near Grantham he set up a Temple of Wisdom, and began publishing a series of divinatory, herbal and magical texts. In 1812 we find Strange using his magic in the service of Lord Wellington, and that same year Parkins advertised a lamen or talisman for military and naval officers in his Cabinet of Wealth, or the Temple of Wisdom. ‘God Save the King, and Defend this Nation!’ He declared. Parkins’ lamen would ‘not only powerfully protect and defend the British Army and Navy in all those times of the greatest danger, but also give them the most complete victory over all enemies, both foreign and domestic.’

So when you watch the next episode of Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, spare a thought for those very real friends of English magic: Sibly, Barrett, Denley, and Parkins."
chelseagirl on July 2nd, 2015 09:31 am (UTC)
Love it! I've been delighted by the series, and have loved the book since it came out -- I had come across some of the stories that later ended up in The Ladies of Grace Adieu in anthologies and had been hoping she'd publish something full length. (And am now hoping she won't be another Harper Lee and make us wait 50 years for the next one . . . )
tempestsarekind: ten is a bookwormtempestsarekind on July 2nd, 2015 04:44 pm (UTC)
I've been trying to read the book for a while - I've started it a couple of times, and I keep getting 250 to 350 pages into it! I like it, so I don't know why I wind up putting it down around that point…although the last time, it was because school started up again, so that makes sense.

I want to finish the book before watching the series, though!
chelseagirl on July 2nd, 2015 07:58 pm (UTC)
I completely lost Labor Day weekend to it the year it came out -- I couldn't stop reading and didn't get my syllabi written on time. ;-) Seriously, I could not stop. I'm rereading it slowly at the moment. But there is nothing about the book that I don't adore, from the prose style and the snarkiness to the footnotes and . . .

There seem to be three responses to the book: loving it, finding it tedious and slow, and having trouble getting into it but then liking it a lot. Sounds like you may be a #3.
tempestsarekind: austentempestsarekind on July 3rd, 2015 01:24 am (UTC)
Yeah, probably! I really enjoy the drawing room parts, but do drift off a bit when the war comes up… This is probably not a huge surprise given how much I love Jane Austen. :)
Neaneadods on July 2nd, 2015 11:38 pm (UTC)
Worth doing; I read the book a long time ago and the series changed enough that it drove me back to the book to try to reconcile my memories to what I saw. Having more time to listen than to read, I'm doing the audiobook, which is good... and also a goodly length.
tempestsarekindtempestsarekind on July 3rd, 2015 01:25 am (UTC)
I can only imagine! Maybe this summer I'll make a little more progress...